It’s a commonly held misbelief that scientists are not creative individuals, but given that we create new techniques and products on a daily basis, I would beg to differ. As a scientist myself, I turned to creativity when I fell ill, as suddenly the large chunk of my free time spent being active became an empty void of boredom and brooding. Fortunately, over the past few years, crafts as relaxation and therapy have become popular, meaning I had access to a wide variety of relatively cheap materials.
Among the most popular crafts of the time were the small, multi-coloured, elastic “loom bands” that somehow managed to work themselves into every nook and cranny, from children’s noses, to between the cushions on every sofa. I bought a couple of books full of patterns and models to make, and even bought some beads and charms to incorporate into my designs. I spent many happy hours engrossed in the craft, and I don’t suppose many people are excited to receive a huge bag of elastic bands for their 20th birthday.
Although the products of my efforts were somewhat cheap and cheerful, they got me a lot of attention when I was wearing the bracelets, particularly off admiring children. They also made great gifts when I wasn’t sure what to get someone.
For our first Valentine’s Day together, I bought Jarred the clichéd aftershave, and also made a dodgy-looking Kylo Ren and Rey out of the loom bands, characters we had both adored in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi. Jarred found them particularly charming, but one of the bands had snapped whilst in the gift bag, and Kylo was decapitated by his own lightsabre. Fortunately, it was easy enough to weave another band into its place, although his head is slightly askew to this day.
My personal favourite of my creations is the skeleton I produced using white bands, with silver beads for ball-and-socket joints, and black beads for eyes. It was far easier to create than it looks, but is still effective, and makes quite the addition to the pin-board beside my bed.
Childish as this craft may seem, I enjoy it and find it relaxing, and I enjoy the looks on people’s faces when I surprise them with a little model. They might not be costly or glamorous, but people appreciate the time and skill that was put into creating them. All in all, it seems to me to be a good use of my time, and is a definite improvement upon being bored and broody.